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Celtic Owner Calls Forward Tom Heinsohn “No. 1 Heel”

Jan. 17, 1964 - Walter Brown (right), the president of the Boston Celtics, and forward Tommy Heinsohn (left) emerged from a meeting today still at odds over the efforts of NBA players to get a pension plan. The rift between the club owner and one of his biggest stars followed a 15-minute delay of the 14th NBA All-Star game Tuesday night while the players met with the league president, Walter Kennedy. Heinsohn is president of the player’s association. After a 25-minute closed-door session today, Brown said, “Nothing has changed. Heinsohn didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. I’m burned up and I’m sore about it.” Brown’s statement apparently indicated that he had no intention of withdrawing an earlier remark that “Heinsohn is the No. 1 heel in my long association with sports.” “Everything I said about him still goes — and all the damn rest of them too — [Sam] Jones, [Bill] Russell.”

Heinsohn responded, “I’m sorry Walter feels this way, nothing personal was intended. He has been great to me and all the Celtics and is also one of the owners who has behind our association 100%. Our actions [at the All-Star Game] were not directed against him as an individual. It pained me more than anyone that it had to happen in Boston. I’m only one member of the All-Stars. I have one vote. In fact, 19 of 20 of us were reluctant to go out on the floor Tuesday night, until we at least had written affirmation from the NBA Board of Governors that they would activate the pension plan at the Feb. 18-9 meetings in New York.” Heinsohn said he believes in the pension struggle and that he is “willing to put myself up for criticism — somebody has to do a thing like this.”


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